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« Traveling Day—Saturday, May 1st, 2010 | Main | Thursday, April 29th, 2010—Bar 109 »

Friday, April 30th, 2010—Bar 110

Day 110—Thursday, April 30th, 2010

Simon’s Tavern

Okay, if you’re reading this before 11:00 am this morning, turn on the John Williams Show on WGN Radio 720, where I’ll be interviewed sometime around 11:00 this morning. It’s been 17 years since I wormed my way onto John’s show way back when he was in Peoria, so tune in to catch the Chicago fun! If you’re reading this after 11:00 am, well, you’re as the say, shit out of luck. But there is a new bar to check out and it’s last night’s first Chicago stop!

Simon’s bar was suggested by my friend Aaron the drummer for the Joans, so I told a few other Chicago friends and the following is our trip to Simon’s. Garfukel’s refused to comment. So there!

Okay, I'm in the Peoria terminal, waiting to fly to Chicago. it's a little boring so time to look at something more interesting...

Woo hoo!

I hate these little puddle-jumpers that go back and forth from Peoria to Chicago. I call them, "Buddy Holly Specials."

The good news is the flight only lasts 30 minutes. Hello Chicago!

The bad news is, the cab ride to the hotel is longer than the flight.

But here I am, my new home away from home for two days, the Best Western on Broadway.

But this isn't a guy walks into 365 Best Western's, it's a guy walks into 365 bars, so baboom, here we are at Simon's.

Looks like a nice Chicago joint. Hey, who's this guy?

Why it's Josh! Cheers, Josh, you're on 365 camera!

Seeing Josh with his drink made me thirsty and bartender Patrick quickly served me up a cold beer to remedy the situation.

My sidekick for the entire evening was 365 commentator Biff, who drove to Chicago for the fun. Hi, Bifferoonie!

There's side tables opposite the bar for ample seating.

Here's the guy who suggested the place, Aaron. I mentioned before Aaron drums for the Joans, check them out here, a fun and great band: The Joans.

Here's Bill and Margaret who had some suggestions for bars in New York for me to visit, which I added to my list.

Simon's has a great old school jukebox with an eclectic menu ranging from Robert Gordon to Elastica to Television to The Clash to the O'Jays and everyone in between.

Here's Karla and Eric. Eric's a teacher and Karla's a writer. She's got a whole bibliography on Amazon, check it out here: Karla's Goddamn Bibliography on Amazon. She's also got an app, I don't know what that really is, but she has one, look: Karla's Goddamn App.

And now it's time for dueling photography part one: Myself versus Karla!

Here's a woodsy moment on the wall.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's The Handcuffs! Brad Elvis and Chloe F. Orwell join the fun at Simon's!

And they're back(s), by popular demand, The Handcuffs, woo hoo!

And here everyone is...hey, where's Clare?

Quit hiding behind Brad, Clare, step out and face the music! Okay, maybe tomorrow (stay tuned for a picture tomorrow of the elusive Clare!)

Okay, here my notes are a little garbled, I hope this is Melissa and Amy, but it might be Jennifer and Laura, but I think it's Melissa and Amy. Anyway, they wished me well on the bar crawl and were very cool.

Here I am being super-charged being in the midst of the beauty of Chloe F. Orwell and Emily E. Schein.

Which can only lead to Dueling Photography Part II: Myself versus Emily!

Okay, garbled notes part II, I think this is Jennifer and Laura, but it might be Melissa and Amy, either way, Biff and I met them at the restaurant before the bar and shared part of our dinner because we over ordered (which is always better than under-ordering, I say) and they said they'd buy us a drink, and true to their word, they showed up! **Update: It turns out I was correct, I just got an email from Laura saying that the second picture is indeed correct after all! Thanks, Laura and thanks for the drinks!

Here's Lisa, Joanna and Anthony who were supportive of the 365 Bar Crawl idea and were fun to chat with.

Here's myself, Biff and Brad performing our version of what I like to call, "The Three Lips Penny Opera." Yep, it's getting late folks.

Time to go home, goodnight everybody!


Okay, it’s almost 9:00 in the morning, I want to get this posted before I do the John Williams Show on WGN. I still need to shower and shave and do all my morning ritual stuff and write this review...what will I do... what will I do? I know, I’ll cheat, below is what Simon’s has to say about themselves, via their website. And I know this isn’t an official review, since they’re biased, but I had a great time last night, I have to get up and running and I’m on vacation, so leave me alone! Oh Simon’s...

Since 1934, Simon’s ceramic and glass block-clad façade has appeared like a beacon in the night to pub-goers of all nationalities with its neon sign depicting a fish holding a martini. This fish turns out to be a double entendre – “pickled herring” – which is a delicacy in Sweden. Get it? Right...

Once inside you may notice that, in contrast to the dirty gray linoleum floor and drop ceiling with questionable-looking tiles, the long, worn mahogany bar that runs long the south wall offers a touch of class. In front of the bar lies a curved upholstered booth that lies just under a small rectangular window in front lit with blue light bulbs. The design of the bar was modeled after a steamship like the triple-stacked Normandy etched into the mirror behind the cash register and below the Swedish and Norwegian flags behind the bar. Blue backlit portholes glow from the bar’s wooden backdrop below a yellow stucco wall, and an interesting array of Viking paraphernalia that includes: statues, a horned helmet, a shield, an axe, Viking ships, wooden carvings, and a small Viking warrior skewering a bowling pin with what looks like a trident.

While Simon’s may be the only bar in Chicago with an axe on display, the Viking helmet is particularly notable for two reasons. First of all, the Vikings did not wear helmets, let alone helmets with horns on them. Secondly, Simon’s has an ongoing, unadvertised bar contest: if you can spot the five hidden animals in the lodge mural across from the bar, you can drink for free during the entire evening while wearing the helmet.

“This is the way a tavern used to be—no ferns, glass or peppy waitresses” – Ethnic Chicago (1993) Beyond the bar lies a small lounge area, complete with two of your grandmother’s worn couches in the back, sans plastic, along with black & white pictures of a parade and a shuffleboard scene, and a red brick fireplace that warms chilly patrons. Illuminating the “back room” is a stained glass window depicting two crowned pickled herrings (drinking martinis) with little Swedish flags in the corners, backlit with light coming from the room behind.

(Wow, they can really blather on about themselves, can’t they! Oh well, it was a great night and you should check out Simon’s the next time you’re in Chicago.)

Simon’s Tavern

5210 N. Clark (@ Foster) Chicago, Illinois


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    365 Bars - A Virtual Bar Crawl - Friday, April 30th, 2010—Bar 110

Reader Comments (23)

Hey, Marty! Great writeup and photos! Even my nerdy specs look classy (those are MY "Buddy Holly Specials").

Super fun time...to give credit where it's due, it was Brad and Chloe who actually suggested Simon's, because it was sort of their neighborhood haunt when they lived around the corner. I'd never actually been there before (though I've walked past it a million times over the years), but I'd always wanted to. And I'll definitely go back! And back! And back! At least, I will once I live down spilling my drink on the bar in front of Patrick...

It was great meeting Biff in person, too. She's every bit as smart and fun as I thought she'd be...

Looking forward to seeing you at the Foot tonight! And Boris, in the flesh! Woo Hoo!

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Sorry I missed Simon's.
I told my Brother in Law about it but don't know if he showed.
He literally lives down the street from Simon's.
Waiting for our boy to show up on the John Williams Show as I write this.
A few calls to make and things to get dome here today.
Sorry I missed Biff. (it was close this time)
Great review and hope Brad and Chloe venture back out as well.
I'm hoping the first 365 shirt arrives in the mail today.
Gotta check the quality so we can get the masses properly attired.
Hope to see you at "The Foot".

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Fabulous interview with John Williams! Don't tell my boss I listened at work. I move from Peoria to Chicago and listen to a friend from Peoria who moved to New York on a Chicago radio station show hosted by a guy I used to listen to on a Peoria radio station who moved to Minneapolis and ended up in Chicago. My heads spinning, I need to take the afternoon off!

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMapes

I hope Aaron is reading 365 today. Just wanted him to know that "Mad at the Dirt" was a hoot and has a revered spot on my favorites list on YouTube. Funny as hell. You tell'em Joan...that lying little squid!

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Hey Daddio!
The 365 shirt arrived today!
Amazing quality.
We'll get the Official store up and running in the next few days.
T Shirts, Coasters etc.

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

Yes! Simon's great choice for your Chicago stop! Another great bar in the hood is The Edgewater Lounge ... but if you're looking for another stop in city, totally check out The Hungry Brain, not too far from yr hotel (Belmont and Western). Mah favorite bar in the city.

Long time readers and first time commenter,
yr pals at Bloodshot Records

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjp

Enjoyable, as always, seeing you. They gave you a goodly allotment of time on WGN - and you sounded incredibly non-hung-over. Well done! Thanks for the shout-out on the blog. I posted a bit about you (with photo) on my blog at www.mykindoftownandaround.blogspot.com. Until we drink again...

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarla

Great night out in Chi-town! Now you're on WGN radio, who the hell is your press agent, Marty??

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarfly

Hey Jaws!! As a matter of fact, I AM reading today, and I thank you kindly...:-)

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I think my favorite non-Marty-related moment of the evening was when Margaret apologized for moving my stool a little, saying my "seat was humping her seat." I don't hear those words every day, you know...

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Looks like a great time! Biff looks like I pictured her from back in myspace days! You still don't look like I pictured you! Hope the rest of your time in Capone's city is a hoot! I want a T- Shirt Motherfucker! Do they smell like beer?

Oh......I forgot......I see Aaron's band is playing here in Milwaukee on June 13 for Pridefest! I remember him from myspace too......Gonna try and check them out if i can! Cheers to you and the gang Nice to see Biff and Aaron in the mix!

The T-Shirts will be available soon, Professor! "Boris" is wearing a sample copy tonight! They don't smell like beer, Motherfucker, but I sure do! Thanks for the comments everybody!

April 30, 2010 | Registered Commenter365 Beers

this is so cool, great to see some of the commentators in real life! looks like fun, thanks for taking all of us along!

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrita r.

Heard you on the John Williams show today, great blog and idea! I love it! I'll try to get to Club Foot tonight! Keep on crawling! Glad you came to Chi-town!

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBobby X.

I get here late !! I started to read yesterday, then I had to leave for my "goodbye France party" at AB Bar, then when I came back home (late, drunk, mega shit-faced!!) ... no web connexion! I was frustrated and wanted to know about the simon's without garfunkel !!!!!!!!

So, Cool place and nice to meet you, Biff !! ;)
Funny, I always thought Biff was a dog because of the printed enveloppe I saw on TMWS ...
But ok, Biff is an humanoïd shape!! Now I just need to forget the idea that dogs can type on a laptop! LOL

Ok, 9am over here and I still feel drunk !! I went to AB bar at 6pm yesterday and left at 2am, so I hang out there 8 hours with 1 beer per hour = 4 liters of beer, YO !
Then I'm going to eat at mom's with all the familia today and mom always buy allot of beer for me and dad can't stop to poor wine in my glass... Oh la la !! My day will be crazy!!

Then! I'll have my last evening in France with my Texan friend Brother who stay in France But he has to come back in US on 18th of May if he doesn't find another job in France, and so, he will try to come in New York to visit us and come to drink beers at the 365 bars! woo hoo !!

AND TOMORROW I'M IN NEW YORK !!!!!!!! See motherfucker !!!! :D

Shit late as always , didn't hear the radio show .
So when you become a Rock Star , can I be part of your entourage ?
This 365 road show is awesome , & I would like to see you go some where very far , like Japan, China , or France , yeah !! I would contribute 100 bucks for the journey , & I am sure others would do it to !!!
Yes lets start a revolution , send Marty to Europe Fund !!!!

OH shit I need to clean up my apartment today , ZioumZioum ( Whom I met @ TMWS ) is coming to invade NYC !!!!

Oh didn't have enough coffee , Hi Biff , it's cool to see a commentator !!!

Love the new site, Marty! Great pics of The Handcuffs.

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeau Brooks

And my pal Emily!

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeau Brooks

Hi, everyone! Simons was great - friendly bartenders, decent prices, cool looking bar, well-stocked jukebox. I could go on, but I'm typing this on a phone and my thumb's getting tired (note to self: learn how to text). Anyhoo, it was great to meet everyone and get a first-hand looksie at how the Crawl works. Hope y'all had fun at the Foot! Hooray for Chicago!

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

What a wonderful time it looks like you had, It is great to see Biff, Aaron and Brad and Cloe. I am so glad that everyone had such a great time.

What a neat looking place that is and very nice looking people in there!

Thanks for sharing it wil us!!

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiki Bar Susie

This night was so fun! Love our Marty-wich photo. So sorry I couldn't make Club Foot, that looked like a great night, too. Think I'm gonna need to get myself a 365 t-shirt. xo Em

May 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Schein

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